Chris (left) and Heather (right) Brightwell.

By Sofia Celis Avellaneda

Heather Brightwell, 37, is an area nurse in a fight of her life after being diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer called metaplastic carcinoma. “I am on oral chemo twice daily after completing 16 rounds of IV chemotherapy, 23 rounds of radiation, immunotherapy and additional surgeries,” said Heather.

Heather’s husband, Chris Brightwell, 38, is currently in remission after his own battle with cancer. “He had thyroid cancer three years ago and successfully completed treatment,” explained Heather. She and Chris are parents to daughters Carlie, 12, and Cydney, 8, who are a reminder to remain hopeful despite their ongoing cancer battles.

In an effort to help the Brightwell family, Hope Springs, founder of the nonprofit Addison Foundation, is coordinating a fundraising event and spaghetti dinner. Springs has a personal connection inspiring her drive to help them. Heather was previously her nurse, and she later became a friend. “I am hosting this for Heather and her family because she was there for me when I lost my daughter, Addison, 12 years ago. Now she is in her darkest time, and I will be there for her,” explained Springs.

The event will take place on Saturday, August 20 from 5-8 p.m. at Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, located at 619 Vonderburg Rd., Ste. B in Brandon. In addition to the spaghetti dinner, there will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction and lemonade stand with assorted treats. Tickets are available at, and RSVPs are requested by Monday, August 15.

According to Springs, the fundraising goal is $10,000, and she believes they can achieve it with community support. If you are unable to attend the event, there is a GoFundMe page at For more information, to RSVP or to donate, please email or contact Heather at 813-777-7709.

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